Starfield Review

Starfield, the spacefaring adventure game by Bethesda, offers an expansive experience with impressive scale and satisfying combat. While its worthwhile sidequests add depth, the RPG systems in the game are lacking, and its vision of the cosmos feels uninspired. Despite these shortcomings, Starfield, developed by Bethesda Game Studios, follows its familiar formula, offering a shooter-focused RPG that falls short on meaningful engagement with its setting. The main quest lacks strong motivations, and while side quests and factions provide more depth and compelling subplots, the limited impact of dialogue options leaves something to be desired. The game features enjoyable gunplay and ship combat, but space exploration feels limited and lacks a sense of discovery. Despite occasional frame drops, Starfield ultimately falls short in providing a cohesive and memorable RPG experience, relying heavily on a formulaic approach.

Game Overview

Starfield is an expansive spacefaring adventure game developed by Bethesda Game Studios. It boasts an impressive scale, satisfying combat, and engaging sidequests. However, the game falls short in terms of its RPG systems, the uninspired vision of the cosmos, and a formulaic approach. Despite its vastness, Starfield lacks the depth that many players seek in an RPG experience.

Starfield Review

Background of Starfield

Starfield takes players on a journey through space, allowing them to explore various star systems and planets. Bethesda’s aim was to create a game that captures the wonder and fascination of the cosmos. However, while the game offers an expansive and detailed universe, it falls short in terms of immersing players in a truly captivating and unique setting.

Gameplay Mechanics

Starfield features a range of gameplay mechanics, including gunplay and ship combat. The combat mechanics are satisfying, with a variety of weapons to choose from and the ability to upgrade and customize ships. However, there are occasional frame drops that can impact the overall gameplay experience. Despite this, the gameplay itself remains enjoyable and engaging.

Strengths and Weaknesses

One of the strengths of Starfield lies in its scale and scope. The game offers a vast universe to explore, with numerous star systems and planets to discover. Additionally, the combat mechanics are well-executed and provide a satisfying gameplay experience.

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However, Starfield has its weaknesses. The RPG systems in the game are relatively shallow, lacking depth and impactful choices. The vision of the cosmos presented in the game is uninspired, failing to deliver a sense of wonder and exploration. Overall, while Starfield offers an impressive experience in terms of scale, it falls short in terms of depth and unique features.

RPG Systems

Superficial RPG Mechanics

Starfield’s RPG mechanics are surface-level at best. While the game allows players to make dialogue choices, these options have limited impact on the overall narrative. The choices rarely deviate from a set path, and the consequences of these choices are often minor.

Additionally, the skill tree in Starfield is streamlined, focusing more on game mechanics rather than offering diverse builds or multiple avenues to solve problems. The limited range of perks, stats, and traits undermines the potential for meaningful character development and decision-making within the game.

Starfield Review

Limited Impact of Dialogue Options

Despite the presence of dialogue options, Starfield’s narrative remains largely unchanged by player choices. The outcomes of conversations and quests are generally predetermined, offering little variation or impact on the overarching storyline. This lack of meaningful dialogue choices limits the player’s agency and can lead to a sense of detachment from the game world.

Setting and Cosmology

Uninspired Vision of the Cosmos

Starfield’s vision of the cosmos falls short of capturing the awe and wonder associated with space exploration. While the game boasts an expansive universe with numerous star systems and planets, the overall setting feels lacking in originality and creativity.

The game fails to establish a unique identity beyond the typical spacefaring adventure. The lack of diverse cultures, species, and civilizations within the universe dampens the sense of discovery and immersion that players crave in a game centered around space exploration.

Main Quest

Starfield Review

Shallow Main Quest

Starfield’s main questline fails to live up to its potential. The narrative ambitions of a grand cosmic voyage are overshadowed by shallow storytelling and weak writing. The main story revolves around artifact collecting and falls short in delivering a compelling and meaningful exploration of humanity’s place in space.

The mission structure of the main questline follows a predictable formula, with players often required to shoot their way through mining facilities or travel to faraway star systems to fetch clues. The lack of strong motivations and narrative depth leaves the main quest feeling uninspired and lacking in impact.

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Lack of Strong Motivations

Starfield’s main questline suffers from a lack of strong motivations for the player character. The journey begins with the discovery of mysterious artifacts and visions of something greater in the galaxy. However, the narrative fails to build upon this premise and provide compelling reasons for the player to pursue the main questline.

The characters within the main questline, while attempting to instill personality into the story, ultimately fall flat due to weak writing and generic dialogue. The lack of emotional investment and meaningful connections to the main questline further diminishes the overall experience.

Side Quests and Factions

Starfield Review

Depth and Compelling Subplots

While Starfield may fall short in terms of its main questline, it excels in providing depth and compelling subplots through its side quests and factions. These quests allow players to delve into the problems faced by various factions and settlements scattered across the galaxy.

For example, the Crimson Fleet faction questline offers a thrilling and engaging narrative. Players find themselves going undercover within space’s biggest criminal ring, leading to intense shootouts, corporate disputes, and infiltrations. These subplots showcase the best aspects of Starfield’s gameplay systems and provide memorable moments for players to enjoy.

Engagement with the Setting

The side quests and factions in Starfield offer an opportunity for players to engage with the game’s setting. While the main questline may lack depth in terms of world-building, the side content provides glimpses into the lives of various settlements and their struggles.

Players can interact with different characters and make choices that impact the outcomes of these quests. While the overall fate of the galaxy may not be at stake, the individual stories and subplots within the side content add depth to the game world and create a sense of connection and investment for the player.

Combat and Game Mechanics

Starfield Review

Satisfying Gunplay and Ship Combat

One area where Starfield excels is its combat mechanics. The gunplay is satisfying, with a diverse roster of weapons to choose from. Players can upgrade and customize their weapons to suit their playstyle, adding depth and variety to the combat experience.

Ship combat, while occasionally frustrating, offers a unique and exciting element to the gameplay. The ability to pilot your own ship, engage in dogfights, and allocate resources adds a layer of strategy to the combat. With the right upgrades and skills, ship combat can be immensely satisfying and rewarding.

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Occasional Frame Drops

Despite the enjoyable combat mechanics, Starfield is not without its technical issues. Players may experience occasional frame drops, especially in densely populated areas or during intense battles. While these frame drops do not render the game unplayable, they can detract from the overall immersion and smoothness of the gameplay experience.

Space Exploration

Limited Exploration

While Starfield boasts an expansive universe, the exploration aspect of the game is somewhat limited. The process of navigating the galaxy involves a series of menus, fast travel points, and loading screens. This segmented approach makes the universe feel small and diminishes the sense of seamlessness that players might expect from a space exploration game.

While players can pull up the star map and view numerous planets and star systems, the actual exploration of these planets is often disappointing. Many planets lack diversity and are home to repetitive locations, such as mining facilities or research laboratories. The sense of discovery and wonder that should accompany space exploration is dulled by the lack of unique and captivating environments.

Lack of Discovery

In addition to limited exploration, Starfield also falls short in terms of providing a sense of discovery. Landing on new planets often results in a repetition of familiar locations and structures. The lack of diversity in the environments and the absence of unique discoveries on each planet diminish the excitement and intrigue that should accompany space exploration.

Overall Experience

Vast but Lacking Depth

Starfield offers a vast universe to explore, with impressive scale and satisfying combat. However, the game ultimately lacks the depth and immersion that players seek in an RPG. The RPG systems are shallow, and the vision of the cosmos is uninspired.

While the side quests and factions provide engaging subplots and opportunities for player engagement, the main questline falls short in terms of narrative depth and strong motivations. The dialogue options have limited impact, and the overall gameplay can feel formulaic.

Formulaic Approach

Starfield follows a formulaic approach that fails to create a cohesive and memorable RPG experience. The game relies on familiar mechanics and tropes without providing meaningful engagement with its setting. Despite the vastness and potential of its universe, Starfield falls short in delivering a unique and captivating experience.

In conclusion, Starfield offers an expansive and visually impressive spacefaring adventure. It excels in combat mechanics and provides worthwhile sidequests. However, the shallow RPG systems, uninspired vision of the cosmos, and formulaic approach prevent it from reaching its full potential. While playable and enjoyable, Starfield may leave players longing for a deeper and more immersive RPG experience.

Bethesda’s Starfield Review has its moments with an impressive scale, satisfying combat, and some worthwhile sidequests, but its shallow RPG systems and uninspired vision of the cosmos make for a journey that’s a mile wide, but an inch deep.